Give your holiday table a tasty upgrade with this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe. It effortlessly adds a smoky, succulent, salty, and crispy flair to classic roasted Brussels sprouts.
This recipe was originally published in November 2013 and reposted in September 2023 with updated copy, images, ingredients, and instructions.
Until I learned to prepare them correctly, I hated Brussels sprouts. They were a limp, mushy, and weird-tasting vegetable that immediately conjured up images of a sour-faced child or disinterested adult, sulkingly rolling it around on their plate without really eating it.
Like most vegetables that get a bad rap, the Brussels sprout is not inherently bad. But boiling or blanching coaxes out a flavor and texture I don’t like, while roasting creates a sublime, smoky, popcorn-like aroma and allows a beautiful caramelization to develop around its cabbagy edges.
Why this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Recipe Is So Good
Before diving into the details of this umami-bomb recipe for Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts, let’s set the stage with a simple tale of change. Brussels sprouts, known by some for their limp and uninspiring reputation, have found their redemption in the world of roasting. This method brings out the hidden potential of these mini cabbages and transforms them into smoky delights, complete with an irresistible crispy edge.
This recipe guides you through the process of creating a dish that effortlessly combines the earthy flavors of Brussels sprouts with the savory allure of shiitake bacon. It promises a tasty upgrade that’s perfect for your holiday table or any time you’re craving a smoky, salty, and crispy twist to a classic favorite. Let’s unlock the magic of Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts!
Shiitake Bacon: A Great Plant-Based Mushroom Bacon
About 10 years ago (yikes!) I created this sliced shiitake bacon recipe and have tweaked it a lot over the years. Since shiitakes come in all shapes and sizes, they can be sliced thin or thick, or just broken up by hand (like I did in this recipe). Keep in mind that shiitake mushrooms vary in size, and in this recipe, large ones work best … just like these beauties!
Never Wash Mushrooms! Here’s Why.
When prepping mushrooms, especially shiitakes and portobellos which have frilly gills, don’t wash them. Why? They’ll become waterlogged quickly and turn out mushy and sad. If they’re dirty, just sort of brush as much as you can away with your hand. Use a damp paper towel if you must. They’re going to be roasted so a little dirt doesn’t hurt.
For this recipe, large shiitakes broken up by hand work best. It creates jagged, uneven shapes that allow for both crispy and succulent textures that taste really good in this dish.
How To Select And Prep Shiitake Mushrooms
Just as with Brussels sprouts, the quality of your shiitake mushrooms will greatly impact the overall taste and texture of your Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Here’s how to pick the best shiitake mushrooms:
Appearance: Choose shiitake mushrooms that have smooth, plump caps and firm stems. Avoid any that appear wrinkled, slimy, or have dark spots.
Color: Fresh shiitake mushrooms should have a dark brown to light tan color. The caps should be slightly curved upwards, resembling a cup shape.
Texture: When you touch the mushrooms, they should feel dry and not overly damp or sticky.
Aroma: Give them a little sniff! They should have a rich, earthy aroma, which is a good sign of freshness.
Size: Large-sized shiitake mushrooms work well in this recipe. If you can only find smaller ones, follow this shiitake bacon recipe.
Before using, pop off the stems and discard or freeze them for making stock later.
How To Marinate And Bake The Mushroom Bacon
Place marinated shiitakes into a preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping the shiitakes around every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning. Since shiitake pieces vary in size and thickness, you will need to keep an eye on the cooking time, especially toward the end.
To drain excess oil off the baked shiitake mushroom bacon, place them on paper towels after baking.
How To Select And Prep Brussels Sprouts
Making these Brussels sprouts is super easy. The hardest part is not eating all of the shiitake bacon before serving!
To make the most out of this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe, it’s essential to start with the freshest Brussels sprouts. Here’s a quick guide on how to select the best ones:
Size Matters: Look for Brussels sprouts that are small to medium-sized. These tend to be more tender and have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to their larger counterparts.
Firmness: Gently squeeze the Brussels sprouts; they should feel firm to the touch. Avoid any that are soft, squishy, or have blemishes.
Color: Opt for Brussels sprouts that are vibrant green with tightly closed leaves. Avoid those with yellowing or loose leaves, as these indicate age and potential bitterness.
Stem Check: Check the stem ends; they should be fresh and moist, not dry or woody.
There’s no need to rinse the Brussels. Just chop off the base, discard, and slice each of them into halves.
How To Roast Brussels Sprouts
Allow your oven to preheat to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the Brussels into a large prep bowl and toss with olive oil or drizzle the oil over the Brussels on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through.
How To Serve This Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Recipe
Toss the Brussels and shiitakes together and serve immediately. This makes a perfect side dish for the holiday table or weeknight dinners!
Plant-Based Bacon FAQs
Shiitake bacon is made from sliced or torn shiitake caps. They are marinated in a blend of olive oil, salt, liquid smoke, toasted sesame oil, and smoked paprika, then baked until crispy.
There are many types of vegan bacon made from plants. Mushrooms, tempeh, seitan, tofu, and coconut are a few plant-based ingredients used to replicate the taste and texture of bacon.
There are also lots of commercially prepared, plant-based bacon created by brands like Lightlife, Tofurky, Sweet Earth, and Upton’s Naturals.
Making shiitake bacon is easy. Slice or hand-tear shiitake caps, marinate and bake until crispy. It can be used in a variety of dishes like shiitake bacon & roasted Brussels sprouts, pasta, soups, and stews.
More Recipes Using Mushroom Bacon
This shiitake bacon is super delicious and can be used sort of like vegan pancetta! A dish that calls for a smoky, salty, fatty, and crispy element like the ones below would love this mushroom bacon recipe!
- This Vegan Alfredo Recipe is super creamy and delicious. Mushroom bacon is the perfect addition to transform it from decadent to mind-blowing!
- Tofu scrambles love shiitake bacon mixed in or on the side. It adds a bit of saltiness and crunch.
- These Vegan Pork Buns use oyster mushrooms following the same concept here.
- New England Vegan Clam Chowder uses soy curls and chopped mushrooms. Use this shiitake bacon recipe (reserved “bacon grease” and all) in place of the commercially prepared bacon.
This shiitake bacon & roasted Brussels sprouts recipe is a fantastic choice for the holiday season. With its crispy, smoky, salty, and umami-rich qualities, this vegan bacon brings bold flavor. Pair it with perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, and you’ve got an ideal addition to your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any fall and winter meal.
for the shiitake bacon
- 4 TB olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 cups hand-torn shiitake caps
for the roasted Brussels sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
- 3 TB olive oil
- several pinches of coarse sea salt
to make the shiitake bacon
- Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the shiitake bacon ingredients except for the shiitakes. Whisk to combine.
- Add the shiitakes and toss to coat. Allow them to marinate from anywhere to 15 minutes and up to an hour at room temperature.
- Transfer the shiitakes to the lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place into the oven and allow to bake for 10 minutes.
- Take them out, flip around, and bake for 10 minutes more. Repeat.
- At this point, evaluate if they are done or need 10 minutes more. They are done when they are toasted around the edges but not burnt. They will still be moist with the marinade, which is okay.
- Once done, transfer the shiitake bacon to paper towels to drain. They will crisp up as they cool.
to make the Brussels sprouts
- Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the Brussels to a large prep bowl and toss with the oil and salt, then transfer to the baking sheet. You can alternatively add the Brussels to the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and season with the salt.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and toss them around and then bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until golden around the edges.
- Toss the Brussels and shiitake together and serve immediately.
Shiitakes vary greatly in size. This recipe works best with large shiitakes (like the ones pictured in this post). If you can only find small shiitakes, you can follow this shiitake bacon recipe instead.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Side
- Method: Baked, Marinated, Roasted
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: shiitake bacon, vegan pancetta, roasted shiitake, crispy vegan bacon, mushroom bacon, holiday vegan sides